20 December 2013Americas

AstraZeneca buys Bristol out of diabetes venture

Biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has paid $4.1 billion to acquire Bristol Myers Squibb’s share of the firms’ diabetes business venture.

The sum covers an initial $2.7 billion and up to $1.4 billion in regulatory, launch and sales-related payments. AstraZeneca has also agreed to pay various sales-related royalty payments up until 2025, a statement said.

“In addition, AstraZeneca may make payments up to $225 million when certain assets are subsequently transferred,” said the company.

The deal gives AstraZeneca the complete rights (including IP) to the companies’ alliance that makes and sells drugs for treating diabetes. Products include Onglyza (saxagliptin), dapagliflozin (marketed as Forxiga outside the US) and Byetta (exenatide).

As part of the deal, about 4,100 Bristol-Myers Squibb employees in the diabetes business, including those at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, will move to AstraZeneca, whose headquarters are in London.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, which is headquartered in New York, bought Amylin for about $5.3 billion in 2012.

The statement added: “AstraZeneca will also become responsible for the manufacturing and supply chain of the full portfolio of diabetes products. Bristol-Myers Squibb will continue to deliver specified clinical trials in line with the ongoing clinical trial plan. A number of R&D and manufacturing employees dedicated to diabetes will remain with Bristol-Myers Squibb to progress the diabetes portfolio and support the transition for these areas.”

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive, said diabetes is rapidly becoming a global challenge of “epidemic proportions” and is expected to affect more than 550 million people by 2030.

Today, the World Health Organization estimates, nearly 350 million people in the world have diabetes.

Soriot added: “Much of this impact will be felt in emerging markets where AstraZeneca has a strong presence. In recent years we’ve worked with our alliance partners at Bristol-Myers Squibb to develop an innovative portfolio of non-insulin anti-diabetic medicines that help address the needs of these patients.

“Together with Bristol-Myers Squibb we concluded that consolidating ownership of the diabetes portfolio would benefit both companies and allow us to better serve the needs of diabetic patients.”

The deal is expected to become effective in January 2014.

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